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Match Reports

U21s Report: Crystal Palace 0-0 Leeds United

22 March 2016

The Eagles played out a goalless draw against Leeds United at Selhurst Park, with Jason Puncheon playing over an hour on his comeback from injury.

Both sides hit the post during the encounter, with Luke Dreher having Palace’s best chance but Ronaldo Vieira would also rattle the woodwork in the second half as neither side managed to find a breakthrough in a largely forgettable game.

Palace began well and 14 minutes in they struck the woodwork. Dreher sprayed the ball out to Aaron Bissaka on the right who found the overlapping Matthew George, and his cross fell perfectly for the onrushing Dreher who saw his first-time attempt from eight yards out come off the upright.

It was all the Eagles in the opening stages and three minutes later trialist Freddie Ladapo saw a shot tipped over by Whites keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and soon after Dreher went close again when he saw a header cleared off the line.

But the visitors – managed by ex-Eagles gaffer Paul Hart – slowly grew in confidence as the game progressed and on the half-hour mark Vieira escaped away from the backline and saw a close-range effort blocked by the covering Matthew George in the nick of time.

More bodies were put on the line soon after when a loose pass by Luke Croll allowed Casper Sloth a free route towards goal but Oliver O’Dwyer dove in front of his shot to divert it away, and just before half-time Euan Mulhern managed to lob the ball over Kleton Perntreou but two Eagles defenders were on-hand to mop up the danger as Hart’s side ended the first period on top.

Once again Gary Issott’s troops began brightly after the kick-off and Lapado picked the ball up on the halfway line and burst towards goal before he saw a shot flick off a defender and onto the base of the post, and then there were two chances for Luke Parkin who firstly forced Perntreou to beat a fierce blast away before pinging another just wide eight minutes into the second half.

Opportunities continued to fall the visitors’ way and Vieira and Lee Erwin both saw low drives trouble Perntreou who had to get down low to push the ball to safety on two occasions, before Puncheon was withdrawn on 66 minutes after putting in a good shift in his first gametime since his hamstring injury back in January.

With 10 minutes to go the hosts nearly snuck in front when Randell Williams picked out Ladapo who attempted to drag the ball goalwards but Peacock-Farrell managed to gather it just before it crossed the line.

Two minutes later it was Leeds’ turn to be frustrated by the goalframe when Vieira thumped a shot on target which left Perntreou grasping thin air but he was relieved to see it come off the inside of the post and avoid the opposite upright.

But with the game’s final action the Eagles went close when Hiram Boateng whipped a cross into the area which Connor Dymond headed into Ladapo’s path who forced Peacock-Farrell into a reaction stop, with Williams poking the rebound just wide of the mark as the spoils were shared.

Palace: Perntreou, George, O'Dwyer (Scales 77), Croll, Fryers, Bissaka (Berkeley-Agyepong 66), Boateng, Dreher, Williams, Puncheon (Dymond 66), Ladapo. Subs not used: Pain, Wynter.

Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Purver, P McKay (J McKay 78), Denton, Phillips, Sloth, Vieira, Mulhern, Erwin (Skelton 90), Parkin (Lyman 87). Subs not used: Grimes, Oduor.

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